In Solar Revolution, fund manager and former corporate buyout specialist Travis Bradford argues—on the basis of standard business and economic forecasting models—that over the next two decades solar energy will increasingly become the best and cheapest choice for most electricity and energy applications. Solar Revolution outlines the path by which the transition to solar technology and sustainable energy practices will occur.
Developments in the photovoltaic (PV) industry over the last ten years have made direct electricity generation from PV cells a cost-effective and feasible energy solution, despite the common view that PV technology appeals only to a premium niche market. Bradford shows that PV electricity today has become the choice of hundreds of thousands of mainstream homeowners and businesses in many markets worldwide, including Japan, Germany, and the American Southwest.
Solar energy will eventually be the cheapest source of energy in nearly all markets and locations because PV can bypass the aging and fragile electricity grid and deliver its power directly to the end user, fundamentally changing the underlying economics of energy. As the scale of PV production increases and costs continue to decline at historic rates, demand for PV electricity will outpace supply of systems for years to come.
Ultimately, the shift from fossil fuels to solar energy will take place not because solar energy is better for the environment or energy security, or because of future government subsidies or as yet undeveloped technology. The solar revolution is already occurring through decisions made by self-interested energy users. The shift to solar energy is inevitable and will be as transformative as the last century's revolutions in information and communication technologies.
About the Author
Travis Bradford is President and Founder of the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development, a nonprofit organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focused on using the power of the business and financial sectors to deploy cost-effective and sustainable technologies.
"Deeply researched ... hopeful.", Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books
"Every American who pays or knows someone who pays an electric bill should read Solar Revolution.", Cecil Johnson, "Business Bookshelf, " Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"While the book is a bit technical, even a solar-novice can learn plenty about the past and present of solar energy, and what may be in store for the future."—E-The Environmental Magazine
"This is a timely and much-needed book. The solar industry is evolving with dramatic speed, both technologically and economically. With a business perspective and a wealth of knowledge about the solar industry and the wider energy economy, Travis Bradford provides an excellent account of solar energy today."
—Dan Kammen, Professor and Founding Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
"This book is a rigorous but intensely practical analysis of how the world's energy future should evolve. It will be valuable not only for scholars dealing with the technological and policy aspects of energy, but also for the concerned citizen who may have no specialized knowledge of the issues. Solar Revolution should receive worldwide attention for exploring the pathways that can guide the world towards a renewable energy future."
—R. K. Pachauri, Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, and Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
"Everyone who wants to understand the permanent energy answer that can reverse climate change, eliminate oil shocks, and avoid future Chernobyls should read this book. Bradford builds a compelling business case that solar energy is the most disruptive technology in history."
—Denis Hayes, Former Director, U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory
"This book challenges the energy debate: it shows in a convincing way that atomic and fossil energies are dispensable and could be replaced totally by renewables within some decades."
—Hermann Scheer, General Chairman, World Council for Renewable Energy, and member of the German Parliament
"Solar Revolution makes a powerful case for a disruptive shift in the energy marketplace—ushering in a post-fossil-fuel age. Where others despair in the face of 'peak oil' and out-of-control climate change, Travis Bradford sees a unique opportunity to create a clean new energy economy."
—Christopher Flavin, President, Worldwatch Institute
"Solar Revolution is an essential read because it analyzes the transformation of the global energy economy. The market will drive the new energy economy, and solar is already a growing and influential player. This is a positive vision of a sensible, practical, sustainable energy future."
—Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and former U.S. Secretary of Energy